Builders asked to halt construction after failing to comply with planning conditions
BUILDERS have been found in breach of planning agreement in Thornbury after flouting council chiefs’ pre-construction conditions and pressing ahead with development.
Bath firm Shepperton Homes has been forced to halt the construction of five homes at Parkleaze by planners after it emerged they had failed to comply with the local authority’s prerequisites for development.
In November last year, South Gloucestershire Councilors gave the green light to the company’s plans to erect five houses on Park Road despite local opposition to the scheme, provided it agreed to adhere to a list of 13 conditions.
These included submitting detailed access, roofing landscaping and drainage plans to South Gloucestershire Council for approval before construction.
Yet at the start of February, builders began laying foundations and chopping down trees without having conformed to a single of the local authority's requirements.
Alarmed by the firm’s "bold" move, Tony Mitchell, who lives near the land, by Chatsworth Park, alerted planning bosses, who eventually warned the firm to stop work at once.
"I was quite shocked when several weeks ago they started work on the site and started chopping down trees," Mr Mitchell said. "Some of them have preservation orders on them and are not even on their land."
He wrote to Shepperton Homes demanding answers but the firm never responded to his query.
"The developer has completely ignored the conditions the application was predicated on. People here are worried," he added. "They are creeping over boundaries, over land that is not theirs. The conditions were supposed to be submitted, approved and published before construction."
Planners sent out staff to inspect the site. After noticing a digger as well as fencing and concrete laid down on the land the district enforcement team found the firm to be ‘in breach of a number of pre-commencement conditions".
They contacted the builders warning to cease work on the site. Will Collins, senior planning enforcement and compliance officer at South Gloucestershsire Council said Shepperton Homes would be served with a notice if construction resumed before each requirement had been met.
He told Mr Mitchell: "I have drafted a temporary stop notice that we have the option of serving immediately should work on site recommence. So long as work does not recommence then we will withhold serving the notice."
He also asked residents to "keep an eye out" for further breaches.
Shepperton Homes development manager Owain Barker said that the firm was working with planning officers to resolve the conditions.
“We are delighted that the Parkleaze development received unanimous planning approval last November and have since been working with the South Gloucestershire Council to resolve a small number of conditions,” he said. “We expect these conditions to be discharged shortly and look forward to bringing forward a high quality development."
He added that the firm had taken it upon itself to maintain the trees bordering the site and hire tree surgeons to take care of them.